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Conservation awards celebrate work of volunteers

12 November 2008

Embargoed until 6pm 12 November, 2008

Conservation awards celebrate vital work of volunteers

Restoring ecosystems, preserving a historic rail icon, promoting heritage trees and reconnecting urban children to local wildlife, are among the projects being undertaken by the seven recipients of this year’s Wellington Conservation Awards.

Awarded annually by the Department of Conservation and the Wellington Conservation Board, to acknowledge sustained commitment to volunteer conservation projects, they were presented tonight by the Minister of Conservation Steve Chadwick.

DOC Wellington Conservator Alan McKenzie said the awards acknowledged the important role of volunteers in helping central and local government to enhance and protect our natural and historic heritage.

“The department and the board have a longstanding partnership to acknowledge the efforts of community groups and individuals who give hours and hours of their time for the many projects that are currently being undertaken in their communities.

“They play a vital role, improving the health of ecosystems, enhancing and promoting outdoor recreation opportunities, and protecting our historic heritage for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Mr McKenzie said the quality of all 17 award nominations was again outstanding, making it difficult for the judging panel to select just one recipient for each category.

Wellington Conservation Board chair Helen Algar congratulated the award recipients and encouraged the conservation volunteers at the ceremony to get involved in consultation on the Wellington Conservation Management Strategy. The preliminary non-statutory draft will be available at a series of public workshops early next year.

“I urge you to attend these workshops as they will provide your first opportunity to view and input to the strategy which will guide the conservancy for the next 10 years.”

This year’s award recipients are.-

Friends of the Waikanae River, habitat restoration category, for helping to enhance and restore the ecosystems of the Waikanae River and its surrounding environment. The friends represent the people of Waikanae in assisting local authorities and the Department of Conservation to manage and care for the river. They are a partner with Greater Wellington Regional Council in the management of the river’s flood protection scheme, and a community care group within the council’s Take Care environmental restoration programme.

Find out more about Friends of the Waikanae River: www.gw.govt.nz/story6081.cfm

Greytown Tree Advisory Committee, recreation category, for advising on the suitability, selection and care of Greytown’s notable trees, and incorporating them in three Heritage Tree Trails. The trails were promoted as part of the Greentown in Greytown’s month of sustainable living celebrations in June. They involve areas of public and private land in the urban area of Greytown.

Wellington Zoo Trust, conservation, education and advocacy category, for its Bush Builders project, designed to reconnect urban children to local wildlife and encourage hands-on exploration to promote change in environmental behaviour. Students are taught about native wildlife and how to conduct habitat surveys.

Find out more about the Wellington Zoo’s Bush Builders project: www.zoo.wcc.govt.nz/content/conservation/research.aspx

Tuki Takiwa, kaitiakitanga category, for his contribution to conservation efforts on Kapiti, Matiu/Somes and Mana Islands. Tuki Takiwa has participated in the translocation of the native species to and from these special places, as Ati awa ki Whakarongotai representative and spiritual guardian. He has also given his time to projects with Karori Sanctuary, during the 18 years in which he’s been involved in conservation.

Paekakariki Station Precinct Trust, historic heritage category, for restoring the Paekakariki signal box and relocating it to its original site, saving this Category 1 historic building from possible demolition. The community efforts, backed by statutory authorities, have enhanced the value of Paekakariki Station as an operating station which also contains a local heritage museum. The work, undertaken over the past decade, was completed in time to coincide with the centenary celebration of the North Island Main Trunk in August.

Find out more about the restoration of the Paekakariki signal box: http://pspt.wellington.net.nz/sigboxmenu.htm

Honda Cars Wellington/Wairarapa, business in conservation category, for contributing more than $225,000 to the Greater Wellington Regional Council since 2005 for native tree planting, under the Honda TreeFund programme which assists in the restoration of biodiversity nationwide. Honda dealerships donate the equivalent of 10 plants for every new car sold.

Find out more about the Honda TreeFund programme in the Wellington region: http://www.gw.govt.nz/story24220.cfm

Douglas Park School, Masterton, young conservationist category for implementing the core values of environmental education and extending this to the wider community. An Enviroschool since 2004, Douglas Park School has undertaken some major community projects which include restoring the Makoura and 4th Street streams in Masterton, and partnering Greater Wellington Regional Council in the local Trees for Survival project, which involves growing native seedlings and donating and planting these out in local streams, river banks and wetlands.

Find out about Douglas Park School’s envirogroup: www.douglaspark.school.nz/pages/StandardPage.aspx?pageId=3899

A merit certificate was awarded to the Waikanae Estuary Care Group which, working closely with the Department of Conservation, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Kapiti Coast District Council, has propagated and planted thousands of native plants in the estuary, with many more to be added over time.

Find out more about the Waikanae Estuary Care Group: http://www.gw.govt.nz/story6300.cfm


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